Make your mark - spotlight on industrial, maritime & transport heritage

The UK has a long and fascinating history surrounding industrial, maritime and transport. From canals to railways, steel to textiles our industrial heritage has shaped our landscape, economy and identity and HLF can help to protect this important part of our heritage for future generations.

2015 is the European Year of Industrial and Technical Heritage , though not widely known about this presents a great opportunity to celebrate the wealth of the UK’s Industrial, Maritime and Transport heritage. In Yorkshire we have funded a huge number of projects that open up industrial heritage to more people. Not only have we funded large scale restorations of Abbeydale Hamlet and the Newcomen Beam Engine at Elsecar Heritage Centre but these projects have nurtured and shared important heritage skills needed to maintain these sites. By encouraging the local community to get involved in understanding the site through new exhibitions and activities these projects are helping to engage new groups with their local industrial heritage.

However, industrial heritage is about more than machines and sites. There are many ways to explore this colourful heritage and delve into the fascinating stories linked to the people behind the industries. The Parish of Hemingbrough Historical Heritage Society started from the archive of the British Oil and Cake Mills (BOCM) to investigate the company’s impact on the local area. By talking to the factory workers, bargemen and other employees a charming insight into the inner workings of the company and its family feel in the Animal feed to gun oil project.

These stories are a great starting point for projects and a way to enthuse and inspire others who may not have initially been interested in industrial heritage. There are lots of ways to start thinking about industrial heritage from the sites themselves, to the archives, objects, maps and people. These ideas might develop into projects so what industrial heritage is on your doorstep? How will you be inspired by industrial heritage during this European Year and beyond?

Submitted by (not verified) on Fri, 08/28/2015 - 15:35


Writing from the 'city of a thousand trades', it's hard to underestimate the industrial heritage of Birmingham and the West Midlands as a whole. 

Industrial heritage projects have huge potential to connect a younger generation with the history of their local area. In Smethwick, a group of young people explored the fantastic history on their doorstep. From Boulton and Watt's Soho Foundry, one of the first ever to manufacture steam engines, to Thomas Telford's Galton Bridge, one of the most impressive single span iron bridges when it was built, the young researchers had no idea how improtant some of the historical sites they walked past every day were. The murals they created in the project are a reminder for the population of Smethwick today of a history of national importance:

As well as preserving and interpreting the buildings and industrial landscapes which shaped the modern age, it is important to capture first hand accounts of lives lived in industry. Age UK North Staffordshire were awarded £10,000 by HLF to record the memories of ex-miners in Newcastle-under-Lyme. You can read more about the project here: 

Do you have a project idea in Sandwell or Newcastle-under-Lyme? Read about other project here or get in touch!

Submitted by Katharine Boardman (not verified) on Fri, 08/28/2015 - 16:38


Such great projects with so many people involved. We've also funded projects investigating people's memories of Forgotten Industries. If you've got an idea for a project then take a look at our grant programmes and get in touch.

We're planning a networking event later in the year to bring together groups from across Yorkshire. If you are interested then keep checking our local pages for more information and updates or if you want to register your interest for the event then please get in touch.

Submitted by ben.greener@hl… (not verified) on Tue, 09/01/2015 - 16:57


Great post Katharine, thanks.

As you've noted above, many organisations across Europe are working to make the 2015 I&T Year a success. As part of this, I have been working with colleagues from Historic England and Princes Regeneration Trust to organise an industrial heritage-themed conference later in the year. The focus will be on showcasing and celebrating the great work in the regeneration of industrial heritage in the UK and debating some key issues.

We'll be talking about projects like Ancoats Dispensary in Manchester, which has been awarded £4.5million of HLF funding to transform the derelict dispensary building into a new hub for Manchester’s creative industries. And about Harvey’s Foundry in Cornwall - awarded £3.7million to complete a 10-year regeneration of the wider site, and transform two Grade II listed buildings into 18 high quality office units with the capacity to create over 80 new jobs for the town.

Both of these projects were funded through 'Heritage Enterprise', a new HLF funding programme which helps local communities to repair derelict, historic places, giving them productive new uses and helping to regenerate towns and cities across the UK. You can see more about Heritage Enterprise here -

I'd be interested to hear from anyone who can shine some light on some other great examples of industrial heritage being used in regeneration and economic development, especially if it involves new creative industries-type uses?

We're also keen to examine the role that local people, developers, investors and government (local and national) play in heritage-led regeneration, and learn about international best practice. And the conference will provide opportunties to promote and champion the role of communities in regeneration, hopefully boosting these grass roots movements and building their capacity to deliver more great projects in the future.

As we are planning to invite a number of people to talk about this sort of work from a wide range of perspectives, I'd also be keen to hear any suggestions that people might have in terms of developers, investors, local authorities and community groups/charitable organisations who we should be talking to?